Last year, we partnered up with Grain Train Natural Foods Market to give away three micro loans to farms. You may remember our news post about what they were planning to do. Just in time for the launch of the second round of the micro loans, we've got updates on what these farms used the loans for. Feeling inspired? Apply for a loan of your own. Applications now open!
Best Farm in Ellsworth was able to do some soil health building, irrigation work and get some repairs done on a tractor. The low interest rate was especially intriguing to Best Farm, as the bank was offering a much higher rate for loans.
Grass Lake Organics in Antrim County was able to purchase some irrigation and tilling equipment to cultivate a garden, which lead to supplying food for the surrounding community. Grass Lake Organics also supplied a specialty harvest of radish pods exclusively for Moka in Bellaire.
The third recipient, Open Sky Organic Farm in Cross Village, is installing new heating and cooling systems to extend their season and offer organic vegetables longer into the fall and winter. Susan Sharp, of Open Sky Organic Farm, went on to raise more funding after receiving the micro loan, too. “Receiving the micro loan gave validity to what we were doing on the farm and helped us gain confidence to move forward with other things, like the Kiva lending program,” said Sharp. Open Sky Organic Farm went on to raise $10,000 within days on the Kiva crowd funding platform.
You can be one of the featured farms on this blog next year by applying for a micro loan today! Ideal candidates will propose an idea that would boost a farm or food business and elevate the region's local food system. Applicants can apply for loans between $500 - $6,000. Loans will have a 2.5% interest rate with 18-month repayment terms. There is no application fee.
The micro loan program is now open for applications and the deadline to apply is February 6. The loans will be distributed in March of 2017 and borrowers will be required to have three meetings with the loan agents throughout the term to discuss how their project is evolving.